Sunday 11.6.11

Excellent capture.

Or, great capture. Sometimes people will comment on some image I took with that phrase. Capture. Capture? I never thought of anything I shot as anything captured. One definition of capture is: the act of recording in a permanent file (data file). Well, ok… I suppose a digital file image is a data file. Still, I almost don’t think of  it that way. The way these people use that phrase, it makes me think of hunting. I’m not hunting anything. Some deer hunters come back with a fantastic buck with a really weird rack. If it was still alive, I suppose you could call it an excellent capture. Maybe excellent capture should be reserved for those guys who catch animals or reptiles in human areas and release them back out into the wild. “Hey, Bob… you caught that python near the swing set and returned it to the swamp where it belongs. GREAT CAPTURE!”

Great or excellent capture kind of makes me think that what people see is what is really there. Don’t be fooled. Usually it is not. Had I not set the camera a certain way, had I not arranged the lights in a particular manner, had the model not worn THAT outfit with THAT hair and THAT makeup and posed in THAT fashion and had I not shot the picture at THAT angle – stuff we kind of actually had planned for the shot… we would not have “captured” that image. Captured… like the image was just floating around out there to be randomly shot by my camera. I kind of think of a “captured” image as just another way of saying “lucky mistake.” Sure, I have those from time to time but I’m not ever planning things that way.

Then there’s “after the shot.” After the shot I look things over and make adjustments as I feel necessary. I may adjust the angle or the crop. I may clean up a bunch of cruddy skin or remove junk in the edge of the frame that should not have been there or I feel should not be visible. I may want to direct the focus of the image so you see what I want you to see or give you a sense of feeling that I want to give you. That’s not a great capture. That’s manipulation. Don’t ever believe what you see. You can appreciate the hell out of it but realize that most of the time, more went into this image than pointing and shooting.

Here’s an example. Not a good example, but still…

This image was a fail. In my opinion, the rope was not the way it should have been. To me, it was sloppy. There’s not much the model can do at this point other than get through it. This whole suspension lasted only a few minutes or so. Tie, spin and shoot. So… what to do with it? I was not pleased with myself on the rope but I had these pictures. Could I salvage anything? I tried. There was a better “head” in another image, so that was placed on this one. I did not like the color and tone, so I changed it. I did not like the floor in the shot, so I removed it. I don’t know if it works or not but it is what I came up with. Lucky for me I “captured” all of the elements that I needed to manipulate one image into something else.

There happens to be 1 mouse running around here in the shop. Once I trap this dude… THAT will be a great capture.

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